From the Editor’s Desk: What the experts are saying about “what we like”
September 1st, 2005

by Janet Arden, Editor
September-October 2005

A good friend of mine and her husband are building a new home in another state. They ran into an interesting glitch when the tile they had chosen was delayed in Customs. My friend was surprised, largely because she was not aware she had chosen anything imported. “I just pointed at the one I liked,” she said.

In fact, pointing at what we like is how most of us do a lot of major shopping. We rely on the seller/dealer to lead us to the best products based on some parameters we’ve given regarding budget and design. Granted, some shoppers may be focused on domestic rather than imported goods or environmentally-conscious, energy-saving products. But I think for the most part, we are all hooked on the “one we like.”

Of course an awful lot of what we like is determined by what the marketplace offers.

A big part of what we do here at TileDealer is to try to educate our readers on what’s available in the marketplace that your customers may or may not like. So in recent issues we’ve talked about glass tile, underfloor warming systems, and porcelain tile.

This issue takes a look at yet some other trends that are driving the marketplace, reflecting not only “what we like,” but what the industry experts are saying about these trends.

Forget the old saying about good things in small packages when it comes to tile. Large format—from 12 by 24 and up, in squares and in rectangles, is showing up everywhere. It can be mixed with smaller format pieces or not, installed on walls as well as floors, inside and outside. Designer Cathy Stadelmaier offers her insights on where and how large format works and those times when it doesn’t. She offers some surprises, so don’t miss her feature.

Second, whether you are selling stone tile or not, and whatever the size, it’s one of the hottest product categories right now. In fact the use of residential stone has jumped 30-35 percent in the last several years. It’s durable. It mixes well with other materials. Granite tile is a more affordable option for the customer who wants a granite countertop. And so it goes. For an introduction to stone, we went to the top—Gary Distelhorst is the Executive Vice President of the Marble Institute of America and the subject of this issue’s One-on-One.

Next, what colors will be driving the marketplace? For starters, you might want to check your coffee cup—latte, espresso, mocha. According to Barbara Schirmeister, ASID, the newest neutrals are from the brown family. And they play beautifully with a palette of saturated hues from turquoise to raspberry. Mix in water and air colors, as well as reds and oranges, and you have quite a palette to choose from!

Finally, many thanks to Walter Iberti of the Iberti Group who graciously caught this correction in our last issue: In “What is Porcelain?” on page 46 a sentence mistakenly says “porcelain’s high absorption rate impacts installation.” Of course, it is the opposite—porcelain’s very low absorption rate of less than 0.5% impacts its installation and defines it as porcelain.

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